Child Life Volunteer Program

The main objective of the UCI Health Child Life Volunteer Program is to provide a therapeutic play program to help children and their families cope with the hospitalization experience.

Play is a vital aspect of a child’s life. It is their vehicle for expressing themselves and finding comfort in an unfamiliar hospital environment.The Child Life playroom is a non-threatening, developmentally supportive environment designed with age-appropriate activities for infants, children and young adults.

This environment promotes the healing process for young patients and their families while maintaining normal growth and development.

Frequently asked questions

What are the requirements to volunteer?

Child Life volunteers must be at least 18 years old and have 50 hours of previous volunteer or work experience with children.  Our volunteers must commit to a four hours shift every week for a minimum of six months. Volunteers must also have a health clearance and pass a criminal background check. If accepted into the Child Life volunteer program a confirmation letter of hours of experience will be required.

The ideal candidate will have met all requirements and be looking for a future career working with children in the medical or mental health field

If you do not meet the previous work or volunteer experience requirement, please apply to be a general hospital volunteer program to be eligible for a possible future transfer to the Child Life department.

What do Child Life volunteers do?

During each shift, volunteers work directly with Child Life staff to review the patient census and communicate developmentally appropriate needs. Volunteers will have the opportunity to interact with patients being treated primarily by the surgery department, which includes the trauma and burn services, as well as families from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Volunteers have specific areas of focus during every shift. Each task is a variation of three components: 

  • Infection control, one of the most important things our volunteers do. Infection control ensures the well-being and safety of our patients.
  • Playroom/bedside interaction, during which volunteers engage patients and their siblings with developmentally appropriate activities, depending on the patient's mobility.
  • Supervised sibling time, when our volunteers engage siblings of NICU patients in developmentally appropriate activities in our NICU family room.

There are also limited shifts available in the outpatient burn clinic. Volunteers may also assist with clerical duties, transportation of materials and special events.

Volunteer will be supervised by staff from the Child Life Department. After a few training sessions, we hope our volunteers are able to work independently. 

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for Child Life, visit Volunteer Services to complete an application online.